Monday, 28 April 2008

Are you defined by what you say no to?

I was thinking about the Steinlager Pure advertisement which states that New Zealand's culture is defined by what we have said "No" to eg. nuclear power/weapons, GE etc.
I was thinking about whether my "No's" define me.
I think they do to a certain extent. But I would rather my Yes's did. I want to be defined by what I am for, rather than what I am against. If all I am is a bunch of disagreeing and avoiding and rejecting then what am I left with?
I want to be full of seeking and finding the good and the right and the pure. I want to say yes to hope and not just no to despair.
Yes to love and not just no to hate.
Saying no may be the first step but by saying yes to what I believe in it moves me out and takes me forward, rather than standing still surrounded by No's.

But I do find it easier to just say No. It is scarier to say Yes and let the No's take care of themselves. It breaks down the boundaries and removes false security and comforts. And I am all about security.

Yes, you wouldn't have thought it was so tricky.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

a word in season

I am so grateful for the friends God has blessed me with. When I am struggling and feel like my perspective is warped I am always amazed at how one of my friends will say just the right thing to help me to see my life with clearer vision. They are also often able to show me compassion and understanding when I can not show that to myself. They really do make Jesus' love for me real, even when He seems silent and distant.

I truly believe God has granted me many of my friends. Some I have met through the way God created me and the shared interests and experiences we have through those similarities. Others have been almost miraculous, a God set up. Such as making one of my dearest friends. Despite being in a university paper with more than 400 people, I ended up in a tutorial with her and by accident realised we had friends in common and the rest is history. Another friendship was born out of a camp and a horseriding fall. Some friends I have been blessed with through my marriage and even through the deep friendships my parents have and the children of their friends.

God knows how much I need others in my life to help me navigate a path. I am not an island, I need others and I thank God that the people He has put in my life are truly beautiful people who are owe a great deal for the wisdom and love they show me.

My friends show me God's hand in my life and His love for me. I hope I can do that for others.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Shock, horror

As a teacher I spend lots of time with teenagers. Recently I have realised how much more shocked and disturbed I am by the things they talk about and what they believe is okay. I had a chat with a few kids about bullying and they all thought it was wrong but believed they could do nothing about it. Other students I overhear talk about fights at the weekend, showing each other footage on their cellphones. I find all of this really upsetting.

Now I definitely don't believe that teenagers are bad or really any worse than previous generations and I am not naiive about what life is like for young people. But I still feel shocked and horrified at what these kids think life is all about.

I would like them to believe people are precious and life is sacred and that they should treat other people as they would like to be treated. I hate to think how adults have let these kids down by not showing them what it is like to be treated with respect and to be expected to show respect for others. I am so sad that these kids are already giving up on the values and hopes that young children are taught. I find it so disturbing that I stand at the front of a classroom talking about caring for one another and not using violence, when that is not what they are taught at home.

It is easy when shocked to distance myself, to want to run away to a 'nicer' place. Or the other option is to go numb, to apathetically accept the situation, much as many of the kids I teach have. But I refuse to do either. I want to keep my shock. I don't want to accept the status quo. I want to question the way young people and adults choose to treat each other and demand that we do better. But also I want to show empathy to those who do not know what is right, or choose not to because it is easier or 'just the way it is'. I am always only one step, one lost hope or dream away from choosing to do wrong to someone else.

We are all capable of the best and the worst. But the best is my hope and I will keep being appalled when we do not live as we should, instead settling for much less than what is meant for us.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Beautiful autumn

This week has been totally gorgeous. Blue dome days, crisp mornings and warm sunshine on my back as I eat my lunch. God does a good thing when inside I feel down but the day shows me there is always hope and beauty in the world. I just have to believe it.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

faith is quite the conundrum...

I have been dealing with faith over the last few weeks. With all I went through last year it taught me that anything can happen in life and that I need to depend on God. Now I am facing the fact that if I am really honest I struggle to believe many of the promises in the Bible. I can see all the exceptions where faithful people have terrible things happen to them, despite prayer and trusting God. Also, the world is not perfect and I have really learnt that, so I have often found it easier to believe God will help me pick up the pieces when life falls apart, rather than believing he will act to stop it falling apart in the first place.

I believe it is dangerous to believe bad things happen to people because they don't have enough faith, but I also thing it is sad that I expect the worst often or at least do not commit my life and the situations I face to God.

Apparently faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain, but can I risk the mountain falling on me if God chooses not to act? Is that what a good father would do? How else can explain the suffering of the good Christians I know.

I hope and pray God will teach me how to have faith without being in denial of what I feel and fear.